Choosing your first CNA job is the most critical decision you’ll make in your healthcare career. A CNA’s first job can feel like the beginning of something amazing, or it can feel discouraging. So, it’s a serious decision you don’t want to take lightly. But, you might be thinking - there are lots of CNA jobs available, so why do I need NextStep to help me find one?
Reason 1: Employers Apply to You, Not the Other Way Around
That’s right, we’ve flipped the switch on hiring!
Typical way: you spend your precious time sifting through hundreds of postings on job boards and apply to some that seem promising. Some of these may never respond. Others may be scams. Some will respond and schedule an interview, but you’ll find out the job has changed. Now you have to negotiate for the shift, floor, and wage you want.
That’s a lot of effort, and who knows if it will work.
The NextStep way: You’ll complete a short profile questionnaire, so we know what kind of job you’re looking for. Then, we send your profile to our network of local employers. These employers then compete to hire you! They know they have to offer you the best wage - well, really the best of everything, if they want you to say yes.
It feels good to turn the tables!
Reason 2: You Get the Highest Pay
Have you ever noticed that many CNA job postings list a wage range? Or, they don’t list any wage at all!
Trying to negotiate the best wage for yourself puts you at a disadvantage. You don’t have access to market data and the power of competition to drive the highest pay possible.
But, with NextStep, we’ve changed all of that! Employers know they have to offer you the best pay possible, or they’ll lose you to their competitors. So, we regularly give our employers feedback when they’re making offers that just aren’t high enough, and guess what - those employers raise their pay!
Going through NextStep for your job is kind of like having an agent who will always get you better pay than you could get all alone.
Reason 3: Mentorship Has Your Back When Things Get Tough
After placing hundreds and hundreds of new CNAs, we can tell you the chances that you’ll have a problem on-the-job are high. What could go wrong, you’re wondering? Let us tell you some reasons straight from CNAs we’ve placed:
- They changed my schedule without asking.
- They’re making me work overtime.
- The nurse supervisor isn’t respecting the other CNAs or me.
- I’m asked to do things I don’t feel prepared to do, and it’s scary.
- Staffing ratios are so low that I can’t do this anymore.
- They changed where I work - I was on AL, and now I’m on Memory Care.
- The team isn’t sharing the work. I’m doing everything and feeling burnt out.
We hope you never experience any problems in your first job as a CNA, but if experience is a guide, we think you’ll have some tension or challenges even with the best employer. Often, when new CNAs (or even experienced ones) have this kind of stress on-the-job, they don’t feel empowered to speak up, set boundaries, or advocate for themselves. It may feel easier to do nothing, but this can lead to feeling very dissatisfied with your job.
That’s why we created mentorship that’s purpose-built for you - the new CNA. When you get your first job through NextStep, we’ll be right there with you checking in to make sure you’re happy. If you aren’t, no matter if it’s a small or big challenge, we step up to help. Every day we work with employers to help them understand specific challenges individual CNAs face and help problem-solve so that the CNA’s problem is resolved.
Our mentors are CNAs themselves. They understand what it’s like out there and can provide you with emotional support, problem-solving guidance, and resources, and they’ll advocate for you with the employer if things get rough.
At NextStep, we believe in “happily ever after” for you as a CNA!
Reason 4: You Have Access to Unlimited Online Skill Refreshers
Think of the hundreds of things you’ve learned in CNA school. When you get onto the floor in your first job, you’ll find some things you’ll remember quickly and other things you’ll have forgotten. But, trust us, this is totally normal!
Of course, you can always ask your teammates or supervisor questions, but we’ve found CNAs love being able to watch a quick online skill video to improve their job performance. That’s why NextStep gives you access to our online library of state-approved skill refresher videos. From how to de-escalate a person living with dementia to how to take blood pressure, we’ve got you covered!
Reason 5: It’s No Cost, No Risk to You - Always!
Just like all employers aren’t created equal, CNA schools aren’t created equal either. You chose a CNA school that not only cares about helping you make it to graduation but who cares about your future success as a CNA. Your school enrolled you in NextStep’s CNA Job Placement and Mentorship Benefits because they know you need support, and NextStep provides it. There is no cost to you to participate. No obligation for you to accept a job. All upside. No downside. CNA your way!
How Does it Work?
If your school has partnered with NextStep to offer Job Training and Placement Benefits, you’ll receive a short profile questionnaire so we can understand what you’re looking for in a dream CNA job. We want to know things like your ideal wage, shift, and job setting.
Once we have your profile built, we’ll post it to our employer network (which represents thousands of CNA jobs). Employers then get a chance to make you an offer that includes specific pay and job detail. We’ll post these offers to you, and then you’ll select the one you like best. Of course, it’s possible you don’t accept any of the jobs, but at least one will usually be a perfect match. Once you’re hired, we’ll continue to be right by your side with regular mentorship check-ins and support.
What Types of Employers Will Receive Your Profile?
We place CNAs with all types of employers, including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, memory care, home care, home health care, adult family homes, acute care, and many more. Most of our jobs are in the long-term care setting because we’ve always found that long-term care is a great first CNA job. After all, the care is less complex, giving you many opportunities to learn before moving on to a higher acuity job. But, some CNAs want to work in acute care immediately, and we have those jobs too.
The only setting we don’t place with is the temporary agency. We don’t recommend CNAs work with temp agencies for a few reasons, including:
- Little or no employer training and onboarding.
- Schedules, hours, and assignments change often and sometimes at the last minute.
- No employment benefits, including time off and insurance.
- Poor job satisfaction because you’ll miss out on building relationships with residents and clients.
- Lack of coworker support when you’re in a new location every shift.